10 Best Dermatologist-Approved Cystic Acne Treatments Of 2024

Unveil clear and flawless skin with products that work like a charm on cystic acne.

Reviewed by Dr. Bita Farrell, MD Dr. Bita Farrell Dr. Bita FarrellMD facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Krati Darak MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
Last Updated on
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Cystic acne is the most painful and pus-filled acne that usually occurs with clogged pores. It affects the deeper skin layers and is tough to treat. But the best cystic acne treatments can come in handy if you want to try some OTC treatments at home before going to a dermatologist.

Cystic acne can also spread if it pops. It is the most severe form among all the hormonal acne types. But it can be difficult to find the best product to remedy cystic acne. So, for your convenience, we have put together a list of the 10 best products that you can use to treat cystic acne. Check them out below!

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Avarelle ZITOUT® Original Acne Cover Patch
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Differin Gel Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
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Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
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Acne Free Oil-Free Acne Cleanser
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Differin Daily Deep Cleanser
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La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment
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Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief
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PanOxyl Acne Creamy Wash
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KILLA Kit by ZitSticka
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Glytone Acne Treatment Spray
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Top 10 Cystic Acne Treatments That Work Like A Charm

1. Avarelle ZITOUT® Original Acne Cover Patch

The Avarelle Acne Patch is made with hydrocolloid dressing, tea tree, and calendula oils that are extremely gentle on your skin and help to extract the gunk and clear zits. It contains Centella Asiatica (often referred to as Cica), a powerhouse of antioxidants that promotes faster healing of this hormonal acne. These clinically-backed topical therapy skincare patches come in different sizes and blend well with all skin tones. To make an informed decision before buying, you can check out this review video, which showcases the reviewer’s experience.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 0.04 x 3.54 x 6.65 inches | Weight: 0.48 Ounces

Pros

  • Available in different sizes
  • Easy-peel design
  • Dust-free
  • Re-sealable packaging
  • Hydrocolloid technology
  • Drug-free
  • Sticks well
  • Works on all skin types
  • Clinically-tested

Cons

  • May not work on severe cystic acne.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Use the acne patch overnight for the best results. Clean and cleanse the face before applying the patch.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With over 10,352 reviews, this product has become a fan favorite among users.

2. Differin Gel Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment

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4.4
Acne Treatment Differin Gel Image: Differin

Dermatologists often prescribe retinoids for treating acne. If you want to try a similar OTC formulation, check out the Differin Gel. It contains 0.1% adapalene, a retinoid-like compound that has similar effects. This professional-grade gel treatment for acne reduces inflammation, revitalizes complexion, cleanses the skin pores, and restores the skin texture. You have to use it as a spot treatment in your morning or evening skin care routine, and it has clinically proven results in combating acne.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 2.1 x 6.5 inches | Weight: 0.48 Ounces

Pros

  • FDA approved
  • Developed by dermatologists
  • Alcohol-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Water-based formula
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Minimizes acne scarring
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation

Cons

  • None

protip_icon ProTip
Cleanse with a mild foaming cleanser and lukewarm water before applying the acne treatment. Do not use a washcloth or sponge for deep pore cleansing.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product has garnered over 5,370 positive reviews on Amazon, and the number continues to grow.

3. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

When you have cystic acne, you need to go easy on the facial cleanser and use a mild formula for hormonal acne. The Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser cleanses your skin thoroughly without drying it. It is a low-lather formula that does not damage the natural moisture shield of your skin. This clinically proven product is suitable for normal, oily, and sensitive skin types and it has received positive reviews from users.

Skin Type: Oily,sensitive | Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.3 x 4.1 inches | Weight: 2.4 Pounds

Pros

  • Dermatologist-recommended
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Clinically-proven
  • Aluminum-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Mild
  • Non-irritating

Cons

  • Some users may not like the fragrance.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With 1,865 positive reviews on Amazon, this product has become a bestseller.

Avarelle Acne Cover Patch
Differin Gel Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
Skin Type All Sensitive Oily,sensitive
Dimensions 0.04 x 3.54 x 6.65 inches 1.5 x 2.1 x 6.5 inches 7.5 x 4.3 x 4.1 inches
Weight 0.48 Ounces 0.48 Ounces 2.4 Pounds
Rating
Reviews10,3525,3701,865
Price$8.49$13.79$22.88

4. Acne Free Oil-Free Acne Cleanser

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4.5
AcneFree Oil-Free Acne Cleanser Image: Acnefree

The Acne-Free Oil-Free Cleanser contains 2.5% advanced micronized benzoyl peroxide – an effective anti-acne standout ingredient that helps enhance skin clarity. It clears breakouts, and prevents different types of hormonal acne, like blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and cystic acne. It contains ceramides that soothe inflammation and promote healing. The ceramides also help maintain the natural moisture barrier of the skin and keep your dehydrated skin moist.

Skin Type: Dry | Product Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 7 inches | Weight: 5.6 Ounces

Pros

  • Safe for face and body acne
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • Fragrance-free
  • Reduce blemishes

Cons

  • May dry out sensitive skin.

protip_icon ProTip
Keep oily hair away from the face. If you have oily hair, wash it regularly and prevent oil buildup in the hair.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

There are more than 878 Amazon reviews attesting to the quality of the product and endorsing its value.

5. Differin Daily Deep Cleanser

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4.4
Differin Daily Deep Cleanser Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Image: Differin

The Differin Daily Deep Cleanser is for those with sensitive skin. It contains 5% benzoyl peroxide which has antibacterial properties and helps cleanse the skin thoroughly, reduces excess oil, and prevents further inflammation through bacterial resistance. It is less abrasive on your face and reduces skin redness and irritation.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 2.38 x 2.38 x 6.5 inches | Weight: 4.32 Ounces

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Hydrating
  • Dermatologist-tested

Cons

  • Might not suit dry skin.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

A whopping 19,629 reviews on Amazon make it obvious that users genuinely love this product.

6. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment

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4.4

If you want visible, long-lasting results, this product claims to give it in just three days. The La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment is a widely used OTC product for acne control. This clinically backed skincare has an oil-free formula that contains micro-exfoliating LHA (Lipo-Hydroxy Acid) and antibiotic medication benzoyl peroxide that go deep inside the skin pores and clear blackheads and whiteheads. This dermatologist-tested formula is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Skin Type: Oily, Sensitive, acne-prone

Pros

  • Dermatologist tested
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Non-drying
  • Fast absorbing
  • Oil-free
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • Might cause mild irritation.

7. Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief

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4.4
Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief Image: Proactiv

This is an extremely effective spot treatment that targets deep-rooted acne. The Proactive Emergency Blemish Relief contains prescription-grade (5%) micro-crystal benzoyl peroxide. You have to apply a thin layer of the product to the affected area. It helps to absorb excess oil, clean the skin pore, reduce acne inflammation, and prevent blemishes. Click here to check out this YouTuber’s unbiased review.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.33 x 2.75 x 5 inches | Weight: 1.45 Ounces

Pros

  • Dermatologist tested
  • Non-comedogenic

Cons

  • Not suitable for sensitive skin
  • Expensive for the quantity

8. PanOxyl Acne Creamy Wash

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4.5
PanOxyl Acne Creamy Wash Image: Panoxyl

The active ingredient of this product is 4% benzoyl peroxide. It contains three emollients and four humectants to balance out the drying nature of the antibiotic benzoyl peroxide. The PanOxyl Acne Creamy Wash is gentle yet powerful that clears up existing moderate acne quickly, regulates sebum production, and prevents new blemishes. It helps your skin shed dead cells and prevent clogging the pores.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 6 Ounces

Pros

  • pH-balanced
  • Non-irritating
  • Non-drying

Cons

  • Might not suit sensitive skin.

9. KILLA Kit by ZitSticka

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4.1
KILLA Kit by ZitSticka Image: Zit Sticka

This acne patch is unlike other hydrocolloid patches. The Killa Kit is meant for acne in its early stages. This dermatologically-approved hydrocolloid patch has a Microdart delivery system that helps deliver the ingredients to the zit to stop its progress. It contains salicylic acid, a potent acne-fighting ingredient, along with niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and oligopeptide-76. It is a safe and effective treatment for acne and pimples, and contains ingredients that calm the zit and aid skin healing. Here’s a personal review video to help you get a better understanding of the product.

Product Dimensions: 3.03 x 2.83 x 2.8 inches | Weight: 3.53 Ounces

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Dermatologist-backed

Cons

  • Expensive

10. Glytone Acne Treatment Spray

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4.4
GLYTONE Acne Treatment Spray Image: Glytone

Got acne on your back and shoulders? This ingredient-driven acne treatment spray by Glyton can help. This topical formulation contains salicylic acid that helps unclog pores, and dissolve dirt and oil, along with benzoyl peroxide to fight the acne-causing bacteria and sulfur to absorb excess oil and clear the breakouts.

Product Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 4 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Oil-free

Cons

  • Expensive
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Infographic: Key Ingredients In Products For Cystic Acne Treatment

Cystic acne can be painful and annoying. But the good news is these OTC products can help provide some relief at home. They contain ingredients that help eliminate acne-causing bacteria, exfoliate dirt, remove excess oil, and support the growth of new skin cells. Scroll down and check out this infographic for the key ingredients found in these cystic acne treatments.

Key Ingredients In Products For Cystic Acne Treatment (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

Cystic acne is painful, and it can be quite a challenge. Before going to the dermatologist, you can try some OTC products to treat cystic acne at home. The Differin Gel Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment is an alcohol-free formula that helps reduce inflammatory acne, while the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser thoroughly cleanses the skin without drying it. The Acne Free Oil-Free Acne Cleanser is also a good pick for it soothes inflammation and promotes healing. Depending on the severity of your acne breakouts, you need to choose a product that suits your requirements. The reviewed options in the curated list have a dermatologist-developed and hypoallergenic formula devoid of synthetic toxins. Based on your preference and reviewer feedback, you will find a pick from facial cleansers and sprays to acne patches. Besides ointments and other medications, you can use these products as a treatment for acne to see the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does cystic acne go away?

Cystic acne improves with proper treatment. You need to consult a doctor and follow the medications to get clear skin.

Which acid is the best for cystic acne?

Azelaic acid or salicylic acid is the best to get rid of cystic acne. They reduce dead skin cells and kill bad bacteria that cause acne.

Should I moisturize if I have cystic acne?

Yes, make sure to moisturize your skin if you have cystic acne. Moisturizing helps keep the skin soft and supple, maintains a healthy skin barrier, and improves overall skin health.

Should I exfoliate if I have cystic acne?

Yes, gently exfoliate your skin to get rid of excess sebum and dead skin cells. Do not use rough exfoliators that can further accelerate the condition or cause excess redness and inflammation.

Is ice or heat better for cystic acne?

Both ice and heat may work wonders on cystic acne. Ice reduces the swelling while heat helps the pimples heal more quicker.

What should you not do with cystic acne?

Do not scrub your skin with rough products that may cause more irritation. Do not touch the cysts unnecessarily or pick at the blemishes.

Is retinol or benzoyl peroxide better for cystic acne?

Retinol is better than benzoyl peroxide when it comes to cystic acne. Retinol reduces inflammation, clears away bad bacteria, and minimizes pores and bumps.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author, Shiboli Chakraborti, is a certified skin care coach and understands the hardships cystic acne can pose. She has compiled this list of the best cystic acne treatment products following extensive research of the treatment options available and an in-depth analysis of the reviews posted by users on multiple online forums. These mild over-the-counter products have non-irritating and non-comedogenic formulas.

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Dr. Bita Farrell is a board-certified anesthesiologist and the founder of Natural Aesthetics Center (NAC), a medical spa in Westlake Village, California. She has over 20 years of experience in the medical field and specializes in injectables, such as Botox and fillers, in addition to nonsurgical, minimally invasive skin tightening devices for facial rejuvenation.

Read full bio of Dr. Bita Farrell
Shiboli Chakraborti
Shiboli ChakrabortiCommerce Editor
Shiboli has a master’s degree in English literature from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, and is a certified skincare coach with four years of experience. As a commerce editor, she guides her team members on the best practices to create crisp and authentic content.

Read full bio of Shiboli Chakraborti
Krati Darak
Krati DarakAssociate Commerce Editor
Krati is an associate commerce editor, a certified skin care coach, and a beauty enthusiast. She has a master’s degree in advertising and publishing relations from DAVV University and three years of experience in writing and editing for different niches.

Read full bio of Krati Darak
Medha Deb
Medha DebCommerce Editor
Medha Deb is a commerce editor with a master's degree in applied linguistics from the University of Hyderabad, which has allowed her to develop a deep understanding of language and its application in various contexts. She specializes in the areas of beauty, health, and wellness and is committed to ensuring that the content on the website is of the highest quality.

Read full bio of Medha Deb